Early Fortuna Businesses

The Humboldt Milling Company (Springville Mill Company)

From an early 1900 publication.

The Humboldt Milling company was organized and incorporated February 24th, 1888, with the following list of stockholders: W. J. Swortzel, John L. Maurer, Wm. Evers, V. L. Bauer, S. P. Davis, Chris. Amer, A. B. Huyk, John Alvin, G. F. Gushaw, F. M. Friedenbach, Aug, Schnoor and E. D. Kellogg, but at the end of a year it passed out of the hands of the corporation and into ownership of W. J. Swortzel and Geo. W. Williams.

Originally the corporate owners were vested in a board of directors, who were required to be stockholders in their own names on the books of the corporation. Directors were elected at the annual meeting. The officers were a president, vice president, secretary and treasurer. Under the by-laws the annual meeting was held n the anniversary of the date of organization. The directors were authorized to levy assessments and declare dividends. The last clause in the by-laws read: "The company shall have a common seal consisting of a circle, and having on its circumference the legend: 'The Humboldt Milling company. Incorporated Feb. 24, 1888.'" The by-laws were attested by E.D. Kellogg, J. L. Maurer, V. L. Bauer, and W. J. Swortzel, secretary. J. L. Maurer was first president, and J. L. Maurer, W. J. Swortzel, Wm. Evers, E. D. Kellogg and V. L. Bauer first directors. Mr. Bauer succeeded Maurer as president.

By action of the board of directors the mill property was sold and transferred to W. J. Swortzel and Geo. W. Williams on the 2nd day of February, 1889. This act was dictated by a motion made in directors' meeting, on the ground that it was advisable to pursue such course to the end that the outstanding indebtedness of the company might be liquidated.

It is shown that since the 2nd day of February, 1889, the Humboldt Milling company's mill has been owned and operated by Swortzel & Williams. The output is chiefly mouldings, doors, windows, brackets, shingles and shakes. The output of the mill, aside from shingles and shakes, for the year 1895, amounted to $17,000. In slack times like the present [May, 1896], when working irregularly, about 60 men are employed, but when the mills are actively employed the working force numbers 90 men. It is proper to state that Swortzel & Williams also own the Maurer shingle mill on Manon [Strong's] Creek. The shingle and shake bolts absorbed at the Fortuna mill are taken from the company's possessions near the town. The value of the shingles and shakes output of the two mills last year was about $25,000.

Swortzel & Williams also own the Wyman Murphy mill property on the northern skirt of the town and abut 200 acres of land acquired with it. On this land there are from 60 to 70 acres of standing redwood timber of the finest quality. Of the output of the Fortuna moulding mill the doors are chiefly shipped to Los Angeles, Oakland, San Jose and Portland, Oregon. The contribution of the shingle and shake department are chiefly disposed of in Los Angeles and San Francisco. The proprietors are in possession of a State Fair award which vouches that the redwood doors turned out by this firm are the best furnished in the state. Judicious management, backed by well earned practical experience are the key to the success which as attended the career of Swortzel & Williams in their extensive manufacturing operations. With a revival of times they will be found in the van of prosperous business men.


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